By Aramie Louisville Vas
President Obama is expected to sign the sweeping defense bill passed Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, despite that fact that the bill will make it harder to close Guantanamo. The move means he is more likely to go around Congress in order to close the prison in Cuba before leaving office.
The bill was passed 91-3 and authorizes $607 billion in military spending.
Obama vetoed the bill the first time around. He objected to both the Guantanamo issue and to easing military spending cuts without loosening restrictions on domestic spending.
White House spokesman John Earnest said in a news briefing that he expected the president to sign the bill, which “does not reflect a change in our position, or the intensity of our position, about the need to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.”
The new defense bill contains provisions prohibiting the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S., and restrictions on transfers to Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.
Obama is expected to send a plan this week to Congress for the closing of Guantanamo Bay. Congress won’t like it, and the president may resort to an executive order to fulfill his promise of closing Guantanamo.
“If he moves forward with this, it would be blatantly unconstitutional, flouting laws passed by Congress,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R. Texas) said Tuesday.
The Republicans have historically not been concerned at all with the Constitution as applied to abortion, immigration and privacy measures, to name a few, so if they’re all up in arms about President Obama using an executive order to close Guantanamo, then it’s unclear whose legs they are using to wobble about on.
Especially since the prison at Guantanamo Bay violates human rights.
There is such a thing as the Constitution. There is also such a thing as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The prison at Guantanamo Bay has stood in violation of both, as well as violating the 3rd and 4th Geneva Conventions. Executive orders must be supported by Constitutional law. President Obama’s executive order, should it come to that, will absolutely find support in the Constitution of the United States.